August 1, 2013 by Amy B
Last night I tried CrossFit for the first time. While I will admit to being an early adopter of techy things (as budget allows), I’m not always the first to get on the bandwagon for whatever the current workout happens to be – P90X, Zumba, yoga-toddler-lates, etc.
But when I heard about a local group offering CrossFit sessions in my area on a weekly basis, it seemed like a good time to give it a shot without the pressure of being in an intense “box” gym with a bunch of muscly 0% body fat people throwing acronyms and terms around that I haven’t the slightest idea of what they are.
The locale was beautiful – right down by the waterfront on a beautiful, open grassy stretch. Temps were in the high 60s with a nice breeze coming off the canal.
(BTW, there are no pictures since I never would have been able to use fine motor skills to operate an iPhone whilst* being a sweaty mess.)
Our instructor Phil, a local chiropractor, brought out the equipment: a tall wooden box, an exercise ball, some stretchy bandy looking things, some concrete blocks, kettlebells, and two enormous tires that were almost as tall as me.
I’m not gonna lie when I tell you the tires caused a small Oh, shit reaction. I’d seen these things on TV (hello, Biggest Loser!). They looked heavy, man. I’m not good at moving heavy things.
I had convinced my friend Abby to join me, so I felt a little less nervous being a newbie. Misery loves company!
We started with a warmup jog of no more than a half mile along the water and around the neighboring motel, followed by a quick sprint up a steep driveway leading back up to the main road. Now, being a runner, I expected to do fairly well at this. I made it up without a problem but got completely dusted by most of the rest of the group. Fortunately, my recovery these days is fairly quick, so I was ready to go when we started the circuits.
We did a Tabata circuit of 9 or 10 stations, of 8 cycles of 20 seconds on, ten seconds off. It might not seem like much, but dammit if ten seconds lasts about, oh, fifty seconds shorter than I would have liked. This workout was killer. Pushups, pullups, incline pushups, cleans, deadlifts, box jumps, flipping that goddamn tire back and forth (I had to have help from the instructor when it was clear I was probably going to get about one flip per 20 second interval).
I haven’t done serious strength training on a regular basis for about seven years, and I can feel every single one of those years in my upper body right now. I haven’t sweated that much in awhile, even on my hot, long runs. I wore my heart rate monitor and after doing some calculations, it looks like I burned about 600 calories over 80 minutes. I wasn’t able to do every exercise but made modifications when necessary and kept trying to push myself.
But was it fun? Well, how do you define “fun?”
I was looking for a challenge, something to break up the running monotomy, and dammit, so many friends of mine have drank the CrossFit Kool-aid; I just had to give it a shot.
Even though I could barely steer the car home afterward (thank god it’s a mostly straight shot!) and can barely lift my arms above shoulder level today (and the pain seems to be getting worse as the day goes on), I really did like it. After I got over comparing myself to the other twenty-somethings who were there, clearly more fit than I am, and not on their maiden CrossFit voyage, I liked that I could just push myself on MY terms in a fairly low-pressure atmosphere with no judgment, only encouragement.
So yeah, I’ll go back next week. And I have to admit: you do feel kind of bad ass when you flip a big ass tire over, even if you need a little help for now.
*I’m clearly in Downton Abbey withdrawal if words like this slip into a blog post.